Before the internet came on the scene, businesses were limited to traditional marketing methods. Nearly all businesses employed directed marketing efforts, like radio ads, TV commercials and mailer marketing to increase brand awareness and establish initial touchpoints with prospective customers. While these direct marketing efforts were standard for the time, they were effective in the sense that they created brand recognition but limited in the ability to bring customers in. In most cases, potential buyers were presented with multiple brands to choose from. The determining factor for many customers to give their business, was their own perceptions of the brands being presented.
Nowadays, 88% of buyers conduct online research before making a purchase. Due to the accessibility of information via the internet, buyers now have the chance to selectively interact with brands in a variety of unique ways, including on social media, online chats, emails, and more. These interactions tend to create a sense of comfortability between the buyer and the brand. Thus helping to solidify the purchasing choice well before the actual purchase takes place.
The Zero Moment of Truth concept seeks to engage buyers before they make a purchase. This can take place via customer testimonials, price comparison tools, and more. With the ZMOT, consumers have more control over the purchasing process. They get to decide how, when and why they interact with brands. However, now it has become a brand’s responsibility to ensure the buyer has omni-channel access to the brand itself in order to meet the customer’s intent into one of these 4 areas:
• “I want to know” moment: Looking for help making a purchase decision.
• “I want to go” moment: Looking for help finding a place to buy the product.
• “I want to do” moment: Looking for help using the product.
• “I want to buy” moment: Looking for help choosing the product correctly.
Several years ago, Google stated a person would use roughly 10.4 sources to help them decide whether to buy a certain product. By 2015, the number of sources had soared up to 22. Even more mind-boggling, the fact that buyers in some industries often use 40+ source to fuel their purchasing decisions.
How are you keeping pace with this trend? What sources is your brand making available? Do you have a blog? Instant messaging? Mobile first strategy? Heck, was your website designed by your niece or nephew 10 years ago? Are you on social media? You have to be prepared to be involved in all facets of the buyer’s online research process. To do this, try following these tips:
- Create or refine your blogging strategy and invest in a copywriter who can create valuable content centered educating and informing your audience with things like saving time/resources, meeting regulatory standards, or adapting to change.
- Take advantage of an omni-channel marketing approach. Folks tend to think that they only need an email marketing campaign because for every $1 spent, you’ll likely garner a $38 ROI, however you need to ensure that you’re using all of the available channels to reach your audience on their time and on their preferred channel.
- Utilize a perpetual demand generation solution such as Advantage Business Marketing’s Mobius platform, which combines content, audience, data, and marketing in one simple package to ensure all channels, markets, and content types are addressed.
Accepting and adapting to the buyer’s journey, for what it has evolved into, is key to creating a modern marketing plan that translates into conversions. To do this, you must address the Zero Moment of Truth and center your marketing strategy around, it in order to thrive in today’s competitive market.
As Google’s Jim Lecinski said, “There are two heroes in these stories: the consumer who does the research, and the grocery store manager or marketer who is smart enough to be there at the moment the shopper is looking for them.”